Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

January 4, 2006

Boyd Unveils Stardust Site Plan: Echelon Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Finally, the word on the Stardust site.

There's a lot of info, so you probably want to read the details for yourselves:

Press Release

And, the new Web site for the resort:

Echelon Las Vegas

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Read archived comments (15 so far)
January 4, 2006 9:43 AM Posted by Doug

This really puts pressure on Phil Ruffin to finally make a decision about The Frontier. With Echelon, Encore, Palazzo and The Trump Towers, The Frontier will look like a trailer park surrounded by luxury if something isn't done - And Circus Circus will probably have to go as well.

January 4, 2006 11:49 AM Posted by Tom M

Does anyone know how many acres the circus circus site has? I think that eventually the Riviera, Frontier and Circus Circus will all be redone as the Strip continues to upgrade the quality of its resorts to the upper market. this is the most interesting time in Las Vegas development history as far as I am concerned.

January 4, 2006 4:28 PM Posted by detroit1051

Boyd's success with Borgata makes me believe Echelon will be a success, especially since Bob Boughner will come back from Borgata to head it up. From the press releases, Echelon seems more nailed down than MGM's City Center. I'm impressed.

Boyd's conference call on Echelon can be accessed at its website and includes a slide presentation:

Tom M asked how many acres Circus Circus occupied. I've tried to find property sizes for Strip casinos but haven't been successful. Hunter, any idea where to find this information?

January 4, 2006 6:51 PM Posted by cgriff

The news release and website are definitely interesting. Kudos to the spunky marketeer who came up with "3,300 keys of upscale hospitality." It will be interesting to see how Boyd places/integrates the four hotels on the one site.

When adding up the Circus Circus acreage, don't forget the low-rise motel across the service road from the main hotel, that is Circus Circus too (flocked wallpaper!)... and the RV park.

January 4, 2006 6:57 PM Posted by MARLYMARR

I was under the impression that Circus Circus is on the same size acre as Stardust. Im really impressed with Boyd's new development, it sounds like it's been very well thought out. Im sure it will do well.

January 6, 2006 9:43 PM Posted by Mike C

Needless to say, I am slightly disappointed that it's yet another world-class five-star top-tier "pull out your credit card and get ready to take a hit" kind of place. Then again, maybe they're ALL marketing their places as five diamond material these days, but I doubt it.

I still maintain that someone needs to focus on making the next Treasure Island instead of the next win. Even the locals market will begin pricing itself out of the mid-range if these places on the southern end of the valley actually happen.

January 7, 2006 5:02 PM Posted by John

I am just thankful that they don't want to have condo residences (in the first phase at least), I just hope that they take the Wynn route and incorporate some color into the building, instead of the MGM route of all steel, grey, and blue. We need color in Las Vegas, that grey and silver can stay in Manhattan.

I am really looking forward to this project, and for some reason, much more the City Center. The only thing is the boutique hotels from Morgan's. Their Miami and LA counterparts seem a little sterile (all white, everything is white), but the Shangri-La will be interesting. If they can essentially remake the Borgata.

November 24, 2006 1:11 PM Posted by detroit1051

So, who's going to buy Boyd: Wynn or Icahn?
BusinessWeek Online
Boyd: Buyout In Vegas?
Friday November 24, 3:56 pm ET
By Gene G. Marcial

Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD - News) may be the next target in the buyout wave sweeping Las Vegas. On Oct. 25, Harrah's (NYSE:HET - News) Entertainment, featured in this column on May 29, got a $15 billion bid from Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management. Earlier, casino owner Aztar (NYSE:AZR - News) was bought out after a four-way bidding war. "This time, it is Boyd, which owns and operates casinos in Nevada and four other states, that may be taken private," says Lawrence Haverty of Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust (NYSE:GGT - News). He identified Harrah's, Aztar, and media giant Tribune (NYSE:TRB - News) months before they became targets. Like them, Boyd owns valuable assets that are way underpriced, says Haverty, who puts its "private-market value" at 70 a share. The stock is now at 42.11, and Chairman William Boyd owns a 30% stake. Boyd's big attraction is its real estate in Vegas, Haverty says. It also owns 50% of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic C ity with MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM - News). Major operators such as Steve Wynn or deal-hungry private equity groups could go after Boyd, says Haverty. But he says the most "fascinating player" who may make a bid is Carl Icahn, who already owns the Stratosphere and "is still trying to get a major foothold in Vegas." Icahn knows the value of land in Vegas, he adds. Lawrence Klatzkin of Jefferies (NYSE:JEF - News), who rates Boyd a "buy," notes that it is down 35% since its peak in April, but its "long-term potential hasn't changed." One big project is the $4 billion Echelon Place casino at the north end of the Strip, scheduled to open in early 2010. Boyd declined comment on any speculation.

November 24, 2006 1:40 PM Posted by mike_ch

Since when does Wynn Resorts have the funds to buy up competitors? Are we just assuming Macau is a runaway success, forgeting about debt? Both?

November 24, 2006 8:00 PM Posted by detroit1051

Yes, both. I'm a believer in Wynn Macau's success and Wynn's ability to manage debt. Even though some say real estate values have dropped in Vegas and on the Strip, Wynn has 217 acres, most of which is the golf course. That's got to be valued at $2 billion minimum.

November 24, 2006 8:06 PM Posted by mike_ch

Sorry, I still don't see it. I could see the firm bidding for Harrah's, but almost all of Boyd's assets are things Wynn doesn't want. Pesky local casinos, downtown, etc.

November 24, 2006 8:15 PM Posted by detroit1051

Yeah, but how about all the Echelon Place land?

November 24, 2006 11:53 PM Posted by mike_ch

There's just too much excess luggage, IMO. And despite all the bad press from the South Coast sale, Boyd isn't in bad shape. Having two months of less profit after months-long streaks of great profits doesn't set off alarms, at least not as much as being in debt on 2.5 resorts.

What I could really see a bidding war on soon is Sahara, which includes that Drive property on the other side of Paradise. I wonder if North Strip could revolve around conventions more and more in the coming years, and I think if Colony can actually pull off leveling the Hilton, it could spark up some me-too projects in that area.

Then again, when the LVH was being sold to Colony hardly anyone sniffed at the deal.

November 25, 2006 5:07 AM Posted by detroit1051

The separation of Sahara's property by Paradise and the monorail is a negative in Sahara's value and worth to buyers.
The Map, Vegas Today and Tomorrow
I'm sure you're right about the north Strip becoming a huge convention area, complementing the LVCC, depending on what's done with the LV Hilton, Sahara and Riviera property.

November 25, 2006 8:51 AM Posted by mike_ch

True, but a smart developer with a good idea could work around it, and that negative would just allow them to buy at a good price. In fact, a design that could straddle the road (skybridge?) could be a hit because of it's abiltiy to function as both a Strip hotel and a convention hotel. At the very least, you could put timeshares on the other side of Paradise like MGM Grand does with Audrie.

Also, since the Strip is starting to shift a bit in the direction of the Stratosphere, Icahn might want to help move that process along by extending his reach, and Sahara is as good a step as any.